Crimora papillata

Crimora papillata (Alder & Hancock, 1862)

Crimora papillata by Enric Madrenas

Class: Gastropoda  Cuvier, 1797
Subclass: Heterobranchia  J.E. Gray, 1840
Clade: Euthyneura  Spengel, 1881
Clade: Nudipleura  Wägele & Willan, 2000
Order: Nudibranchia  Cuvier, 1817
Suborder: Euctenidiacea  Tardy, 1970
Infraorder: Doridacea  Thiele, 1931
Superfamily: Polyceroidea  Alder & Hancock, 1845
Family: Polyceridae  Alder & Hancock, 1845
Subfamily: Triophinae  Odhner in Franc, 1968
Genus: Crimora  Alder & Hancock, 1862
Species: Crimora papillata  Alder & Hancock, 1862

It is a species that can reach a length over 30 mm in European Atlantic waters, but measures less than 15 mm in the Mediterranean. The color of the body varies from white (mainly in european North Atlantic specimens) to a more or less strong yellowish tint, but always semitransparent, so some organs can be seen through the integument. The back is not smooth but has a lot small yellow or orange tubercles unevenly scattered on it, that can also be found in the margins of the mantle. The anterior margin of the head has a series of irregular tubercles, bifurcated or trifurcated and pointy. The side walls of the body and the back of the tail also have tubercles. The rhinophores have an upper laminated zone with up to 15 lamellae and the base portion is partially transparent; the rinophoric sheath is slightly elevated and its upper edge is smooth. In the rear of the dorsum the are 3 gill leaves, joined at the base and directed backwards, which are coloured semitransparent but have an orange central axis. The gill leaves are bipinnate and simply contractile. Slightly ahead of the gill there is the cardiac region, if observed by stereomicroscope heart contractions can be seen by transparency. The foot is relatively narrow, in its anterior region it forms two short propodial tentacles; it tends to widen backwards, forming a tail that protrudes the back and the sides of the animal’s mantle. The mouth appears as a longitudinal slit in the middle of a large, semicircular oral veil.

This species is usually found in the infralittoral zone, from 5 to 50 m depth, usually on or near the bryozoan colonies it feeds on, such as Bugula sp., Chartella papyracea, Ch.tenella, Flustra foliacea, Securiflustra securifrons or Membranipora membranacea. On the coasts of Catalonia this species has been observed spawning on the bryozoan Flustra foliacea; the spawn consist of a narrow ribbon of about 1.5 mm wide forming an irregular spiral wound two turns and a half and with a size of about 9 x 6 mm. Eggs, about 80-90 microns in diameter, are yellow, having about 12-13 eggs across the width of the ribbon.


  • Crimora, genus described by Alder & Hancock in 1862, dedicated to the daughter of Rinval, a heroine of Gaelic poetry that, in the Poems of Ossian, died of grief after mistakenly killing Connal, the love of his life.
  • papillata means that if has papillae, according to the glossary of latin names by Bernard Picton at his web site Nudibranchs of the British Isles

This species, after being described by Alder & Hancock in 1862 is not mentioned again until nearly 100 years later when Gantés (1956) finds it in the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Shortly after it is cited in the Mediterranean (Banyuls-sur-Mer, Haefelfinger, 1962; Naples, Schmekel, 1968). Ros (1975) certifies its presence in Iberian waters by collecting several specimens in Fuenterrabía. Today it is widely known in all European Atlantic coasts, from Ireland and the British isles to the Iberian Peninsula and the Canary islands. In the Iberian Peninsula it has been cited in all Atlantic and Mediterranean shores, also known in the Balearic islands (Darder, 2011). In the Catalan coast it has been observed in different localities of the Costa Brava, including the Medes islands and the Formigues islands.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Crimora papillata
: GROC 2010-2011
: Enric Madrenas
: João Pedro Silva
: Bernard Picton
: Manuel Ballesteros.
: M@re Nostrum
: Altres fonts
: Marine Regions

References for the species: Crimora papillata

    Cantabria: Ros (1975). Galicia: Urgorri and Besteiro (1983). Portugal: García-Gómez et al. (1991), Calado et al. (1999, 2003). Andalucía (Atl.): Cervera (unpubl. data). Gibraltar: García-Gómez (1983), García-Gómez et al. (1989). Andalucía (Med.): Templado, Luque and Moreno (1988), Sánchez Tocino, Ocaña and García (2000a), Ocaña et al. (2000), Peñas et al. (in press). Levante: Templado, Talavera and Murillo (1987). Catalunya: Ballesteros (1980, 1985), Wirtz & Debelius (2003). Canarias: Ortea et al. (1996, 2001), Moro et al. (2003), Wirtz and Debelius (2003).

    General: Barletta, 1981:52[P]; Brown & Picton, 1979:13; Cattaneo-Vietti, Chemello, & Giannuzzi-Savelli, 1990:47[P]; Eliot, 1910d:110[P]; Haefelfinger, 1962:161; Hayward, Wigham, & Yonow, 1990:718; Hunnam & Brown, 1975:143; Jeffreys, 1869:74; Nordsieck, 1972:55; Picton & Morrow, 1994:70[P]; Pruvot-Fol, 1954b:326; Schmekel & Portmann, 1982:107[P]; Thompson, 1976:[P]; 1988:196; Thompson & Brown, 1976:106; Vayssiere, 1913a:338

    Sources: Cervera et al., 2004, Ballesteros, 2007 & 2016, McDonald, 2006 and other sources.


    Western Mediterranean:
    Eastern Mediterranean:
    Atlantic Ocean:
This chart displays the observation probability for Crimora papillata based on our own records.

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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2018) "Crimora papillata" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 15/05/2012, Accessed: 20/01/2018 at (

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